The Brandy Gap Tunnel (also known as the Brandy Gap Tunnel #2 or Flinderation Tunnel) is located near Salem in Harrison County, West Virginia. The tunnel is part of the 72-mile-long North Bend Rail Trail system, and is a popular destination for ghost hunters across the region.(1) The Brandy Gap Tunnel also runs under the Brandy Gap Cemetery, which is said to contribute to paranormal activity within the tunnel.(1)
The Brandy Gap Tunnel was commissioned by the Northwestern Virginia Railroad for the Boston & Ohio Railroad.(1) Thomas B. Spates was the contractor who started the work in August 1852 at Brandy Gap Tunnel (Tunnel Hill in Tenmile District).(2) The tunnel was completed in January of 1857, and was “taken fully out of commission” in the 1990s.(1) This was due to the decline of railroad use in this part of West Virginia, along with locomotive engineers who had “religiously wanted to avoid”.(3) The Brandy Gap Tunnel served the purpose of connecting rail service between Grafton and Parkersburg.(1)
One conclusion that could be drawn out as to why these engineers avoided this part of the railroad is the amount of ghost tales and folklore that creep from the tunnel. One of the leading legends involves a three-man crew doing repairs on the track within the tunnel(3), when suddenly the sound of a train whistle echoes through-out the tunnel.(1) The train engineer was reported to be unaware of the repairs being made within the tunnel3, and consequently struck two of the workers who could not make it to the alcoves inside the tunnel.(1)
The striking of two bodies and the undone rail work led to the train having a catastrophic derailment.(3) But with further readings, this is not the only thing that contributes to the ghostly activity that happens at the Brandy Gap Tunnel. It has been noted that the tunnel runs “directly under the large, yet historical Brandy Gap Cemetery”.(1) This goes along with “the idea that decaying bodies of the cemetery drip remains into the tunnel”.(1) It also has been said the dark tunnel was ideal for KKK lynching’s in the early 1900’s.(3) So the matter of the fact is this tunnel may actually be haunted, depending on one’s beliefs towards paranormal activity.
Today, the old tunnel provides a scenic hiking trail that runs through the dark and eerie tunnel, despite its ghostly references. It is a hot spot for ghost hunters alike, and has even been brought to national attention with several popular TV shows.1 Those who have made the trek through the tunnel have reported “apparitions, noises, and EVP’s”.(1)